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Re: CLUEBAT: copyrights, infringement, violations, and legality

On Wed, Jan 29, 2003 at 08:47:21PM +1300, Philip Charles wrote:
> On Tue, 28 Jan 2003, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > [Followup to -legal.]
> >
> > Okay, I'm going to a pull an RMS and plead for a change in our
> > collective use of certain terms.
> >
> > * Under U.S. law and the laws of most countries I'm familiar with,
> >   copyright IS NOT A NATURAL RIGHT.  It is a government-granted limited
> *****
> Phil runs to his dictionary of ethics.  A summary of the theories of
> "Rights"
> 1.  Rights are "natural" or "God given".  The US position?
> 2.  A contract between the state and individual where the individual has
> Rights that cannot be contracted away (inalienable).
> 3.  Prima facie.  Well, it is obvious what is a Right and what is not.
> 4.  Utilitarian.  Rights promote the general welfare of individuals.
> 5.  Totalitarian.  The state decides what is a Right and what is not.
> If a large company successfully lobbies a government to pass laws
> restricting the copying of its product for personal use, a private act,
> then that government is going down the totalitarian track.
> Brandon's argument seems to me based on 1 "Natural Rights" or 2
> "Contractual Rights".  The only quibble I have is that I personally do not
> subscribe these theories even though they are highly favoured by lawyers
> and law makers.  Societies and nations change, see below for an example.

Brandon's arguments are based on the reasoning of the Founding Fathers
when they first put together US.  Copyright was given by the government
to the artist to encourage creations so that the commonwealth would
benefit as the work became available without restrictions after a
LIMITED time.  The deal was "to promote growth of science, etc... which
benefit us all we'll give you (copy)rights for a limited time" after
which work became public domain.

In that sense, trying to understand "copyright" as a right is
misleading.  It's more of a social contract (2).  I don't understand
the "inalienable" part in the contract; contracts can be changed, eg
the interpretation of the word "limited".

Lessig's CODE - if my memory is right - has a good section on it.


Christopher F. Miller, Publisher                               cfm@maine.com
MaineStreet Communications, Inc           208 Portland Road, Gray, ME  04039
1.207.657.5078                                         http://www.maine.com/
Content/site management, online commerce, internet integration, Debian linux

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